1. annesharlie

    annesharlie Registered User

    Yesterday, for the first time, I attended our local Alzheimer's society meeting. I knew I'd be feeling out of place - and indeed, I was the youngest spouse by probably 15 years. Anyway, one man had brought his wife along, and she was quite far along in the disease and it was the very first time I've ever met someone with Alzheimer's. I found it deeply distressing and her ravaged face has haunted me.... I always knew academically what I was going to face, but had never experienced it first hand. I thought that at least I'd be able to adjust to the deterioration one step at a time. A few of those steps happened lately - he forgot to turn on lights one evening, forgot to eat lunch when he was alone, withdrew money and walked away without lifting it from the machine, and yesterday I found the dustpan and brush in the chest freezer!
    I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.
  2. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    Dear Anne, Isn`t it painful.

    When these odd happenings begin, they take you by surprise. You don`t expect to find what you do, and it`s a slap in the face each time.

    I feel it`s all the more tragic for younger sufferers. We`ve been cheated out of our happy and adventurous retirement, but you are so much younger and will have lost much more.

    My humour deserts me at times like this, crying is much more appropriate.

    Take care and try to make the most of what`s left.

    Love xx
  3. jackie1

    jackie1 Registered User

    Jun 6, 2007
    #3 jackie1, Jun 21, 2007
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2007
    Hi Anne, I think you pobably have to both laugh and cry, as each emotion gives it's own release. For meal time may I suggest if you're going to be out to either leave a cold meal out on the counter or put a meal in the microwave with all the setting done and then ring at meal time and remind him to eat. I have found that works really well with John.

    For me the money one is simple as John wouldn't be able to remember his pin, so I just give him a small amount as and when. That way he still feels like he's maintaining independance.

    I know that these are practice suggestions, I don't have answers to the emotional side. All I do is try to take each day at a time and not look too far into the future. I know it sounds daft, but in the beginning when I had a myriad of forms to fill in and PoA etc. to sort, it was in some ways easier. I felt I was achieving something. Now my only achievment (children excepted) is keeping a smile on my face and frustrations in check.

    Take care of you.

  4. Nell

    Nell Registered User

    Aug 9, 2005
    Dear Anne,

    Such a hard and difficult time for you . . . . sending you as much caring support as I can, and lots of
  5. jc141265

    jc141265 Registered User

    Sep 16, 2005
    Also, I think its worth mentioning that Alzheimers can be very different for everyone, so what you saw of it in one lady may be nothing like what is going to happen for your spouse. Especially so, for early onset I think.

    Dad has gotten very skinny, but otherwise he still looks exactly the same and its been 10yrs now. On good days you wouldn't even know there was anything wrong until he moves or tries to speak.

    At the same time I caution to make the most of now as much as you can. You are going to get so shocked and distressed by the little gradual changes and this is going to make it hard, but I promise you, when you look back you are going to wish you had shrugged these off (as much as that is possible in such trying times) and appreciated how good it still was, back then. I don't know if it can be done without the benefit of hindsight, but I do know you will wish you had a husband like you have now in a few years time...and I think that sentiment stays throughout the journey...you don't realise how good it was until its gone over and over again.

    Take photos, heaps and heaps of photos now, so you can remember him now...for us we stopped taking photos for a while because we were so distressed at what had happened to Dad...we thought he was so far gone...that was 7yrs ago - we had no idea how fantastic he still was.
  6. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    Dear Nat,

    You have identified something I had never consciously thought about, and have certainly given me food for thought.

    I have always taken photos of my husband when on holiday, but am less likely to take them throughout the year, unless it`s a special occasion.

    I will now. Thank you.

    Love xx
  7. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    SW Scotland
    That is so true, Nat. It's so easy to focus on the negatives and forget to be grateful for the positives. A lesson we all need to remember.

  8. annesharlie

    annesharlie Registered User

    Thank you all for your responses.
    Jackie, you have some very good practical suggestions - that's a great idea for mealtimes - I'll do that. I have secretly taken away the credit card, hopefully he won't notice. I worry that he would loose it, he's left his "gentleman's purse" a few times in various places. Nat- a good idea about the photos, I've been trying to remember the camera at family events. I do hope to get my daughter to do a video too, we have to sort out the borrowing of a camera.

    You are so right about focusing on the moment, on the positive. I do worry a lot and it's hard to come to terms with this disease, but I have to keep telling myself to enjoy these times.


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